25 May

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. SAARC comprises of eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretariat of the Association was set up in Kathmandu on 17 January 1987.

 The objectives of the Association as outlined in the SAARC Charter are: to promote the welfare of the peoples of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials; to promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems; to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields; to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries; to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests; and to cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes. 

Decisions at all levels are to be taken on the basis of unanimity; and bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of the Association.

  • SAARC was formed in December 1985 at Dhaka Bangladesh.
  • Founding members are 8.
  • Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Nepal.
  • It has 9 observer states.
  • It is responsible to promote peace, stability, and progress, in region.
  • It comprises of the world's Area i.e 21of world population.

Regional Organization :

Organisation  grouping almost all countries in a specific geopolitical boundry.

It was established to foster cooperation, economic and political integraton, peace and international security.

Principal of SAARC :

  • Comply with UN Charter.
  • Work for mutual benefits throught peace and cooperation
  • Sovereign equality.
  • Territorial integrity.
  • Non-interference in internal affairs.

Institutional Set up :

The summit (every head of member meet every year).

The council of minister (foreign minister duty to formulate policy review progress)

The standing committee  (foreign secretaries meet and set finance criteria).

Structure of SAARC:

Chamber of Commerce and Industry :

To promote the following things.

  • Commercial activities.
  • Banking sectors.
  • Investments.
  • Trade and industry.
  • Business.

Development funds :

               The aim of this body to promote and ensure the growth of the following.

  1. Infrastructure development.
  2. Environmental protection.
  3. Industrial development.
  4. Poverty eradication drives.
  5. Social developing.

Arbitration :

The council is responsible to solve political dispute as well as cases  of economic and banking investment and any other cases of hte member state.

Food  Security :

  • To provide food security in South Asia.
  • Geopolitical factors ( Arabian sea ==> Floods and Tsunami ).
  • Political and security instability.
  • Climate change ( Natural disaster, excessive floods, droughts, Heatwave).


  • South Asian FREE Trade Agreement.
  • Regional economic integration.
  • Trade liberalization program. (0-5%) max

Failure of SAARC :

Bilateral dispute :

         Political territorial disputes.

  1. India and Pakistan ( kashmir issue, LOC violation, water dispute)
  2. Pak and Afghanistan ( durand line )
  3. India and Nepal (Border disputes)
  4. India and Bhutan (movement of Rebels)

Water disputes :

  • Pak and India ( Indus water treaty)
  • Construction of Dam by India; kishan ganga dam , Lower kulnai, Pakal dul.
  • India and Bangladesh water dispute.
  • India and Nepal water dispute. ( Upper Riperrian, Lower Ruperrian).

Role of India :

In South Asian Map India is the largest country with largest population.

India's Hegemonic Designs: (unitary)

  • Hegemonic design of India is unilateralism instead of multilateralism.
  • Strategic growth.
  • Economic Regional Policy.
  • Regional Diplomacy.( Balance of power)

Unilateral Attempt to Cripple SAARC:

19th Summit of SAARC was held in 2016 at Islamabad.

Uri-Attack (Indian air base).

Foreing minister meeting (New York) 2022.

BIMSTECH ----- India.

Security Issues :

  • Terrorism with respect to Afghaistan.
  • SAARC's Action.

National level (countries).

Regional level (TTP, Taliban, Al-Qaeda).

International level ( ISIS, ISIL)

Social and Economic :

  1. Current Economic Issues :
  • Srilankan crises.
  • Afghanistan crises.
  • Intervention of external financial institution.

     2.Social Indicators :

World Bank.

Asian development Bank.

     3.Causes of Non-Effectiveness of SAARC:

  • Hostile relations between India and Pakistan.
  • Lack of Trust.
  • India most dominant in South ASian region.( 72% Area, 75% population, 76% Trade).
  • Dictatorship attitude and demand required interest (India).
  • Territorial disputes.
  • Nuclearization (Aggressive security Doctrine)
  • Small size of local market.


  • Manage conflict peacefully.
  • Work for stability ratehr than destablize each other.
  • Increace the volume of trade.
  • Regional trade is only 5%.
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